January is national “Walk Your Pet” month.
Now that it is officially 2013, it is time to begin working on your New Year’s resolutions, one of which may have been to get in better shape. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) encourages pet owners to not only get fit, but also get fit with your pooch! While walking may seem unexciting at first, here are a few tips to make walks more enjoyable, as well as more active.
- Walk with a goal. Walks can have a destination, whether it is to a park or just an open space in your subdivision. You can bring some dog toys to the place and play fetch with your pet.
- Allow your pet to stretch its legs, and make it a game. In my family, we have a Terrier mix, Teddy, who loves to run. When we take walks as a family, one family member will walk to the end of our street while another member remains with Teddy at the other end. The member on the far end will then call his name, and we allow Teddy to run all the way to the other end of the street. Normally, Teddy does a loop and comes right back to the other end. While this is a very fun activity, safety should always take priority. If you wish to try this with your pet, find a quiet street with no traffic, and find a spot where oncoming cars can be spotted. Also, make sure your dog is trained to run back to you, not wander off.
- Use your walking time for more training. January is also “Train Your Dog” month for the ASPCA. Walks can be a time to strengthen your pet’s standard commands, such as “heel” and “sit.” You can teach your pet one cool trick and practice at every corner. When your dog is at an intersection and heeling, teach him to sit automatically. This helps to keep your pet under your control when at a possibly dangerous spot.
Ready, set, walk!
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